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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, wader, Doctor RJ, rfall, JML9999 and Man Oh Man. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7, BentLiberal, Oke and jlms qkw.  

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Special thanks to JekyllnHyde for the OND banner.

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

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The Guardian
 

Police raided an apartment in Phoenix on Monday after two unnamed gunmen were killed by a Texas traffic officer when they tried to get into a contest calling for cartoon depictions of the prophet Muhammad hosted by an anti-Islam group in a Dallas suburb.

Police officials in the suburb of Garland, Texas, refused to confirm reports of the gunmen’s identity, their religious or political affiliations, or even if the shooting, which took place on Sunday, was related to the content of the event.

Multiple news outlets, citing a senior FBI official, reported that one of the gunmen, a resident of the Phoenix apartment, was known to authorities and had been the subject of a terror investigation. The Guardian cannot confirm this, and Harn refused to confirm those reports.

The Guardian
 

The co-founder of the group behind the contest to award $10,000 for the best cartoon depiction of Muhammad is a New Yorker who runs a blog that campaigns to stop the “Islamification” of America.

Pamela Geller used her blog Atlas Shrugs to declare “this is war” in the hours after the shooting of two gunmen at the contest. The event had been organised by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a group she set up with Robert Spencer in 2010.

Geller, the winner of numerous awards from far-right organisations such as the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is credited with coining the term “ground zero mega mosque” as part of highly publicised campaign against the development of a community centre, which included a mosque, a few blocks from where the twin towers once stood in New York.

Al Jazeera America
 

Federal agents searched an apartment in Phoenix as part of an investigation into a shooting outside of a suburban Dallas venue hosting a provocative contest for Prophet Muhammad cartoons, the FBI confirmed Monday.

A police officer shot and killed two gunmen who opened fire outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland on Sunday night. A security guard suffered a gunshot wound to his lower leg, but was treated at a hospital and released hours later, said Garland officer Joe Harn.

"We were able to stop those men before they were able to penetrate the area and shoot anyone else," Harn said.

Harn said the men had used assault rifles, and that one officer had fatally shot both gunmen. Harn also said investigators searched the men's car and detonated several suspicious items, but no bombs were found in the vehicle.

Reuters
 

Police and FBI on Monday searched the Arizona apartment of one of two gunmen shot dead on Sunday after they allegedly opened fire with assault rifles outside a Texas exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.

Police and federal agents had planned security for months ahead of the event in the Dallas suburb of Garland, which was organized by American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), a free-speech organization that is also described as a hate group, and that paid $10,000 for extra protection.

The shooters, who injured a security guard before they were shot dead by a police officer using his duty pistol, wore protective gear and carried extra ammunition in their car, Garland police spokesman Joe Harn said. No bomb was found in their vehicle.

NPR
 

After two gunmen opened fire at the site of a Muhammad cartoon drawing contest Sunday night in Garland, Texas, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which organized the event, is once again in the spotlight.

Here are five things you should know about the group.

1. Anti-Islam or pro-free speech? The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, lists the American Freedom Defense Initiative as an "active anti-Muslim group."

The New-York-based AFDI says its goal is simply to "go on the offensive when legal, academic, legislative, cultural, sociological, and political actions are taken to dismantle our basic freedoms and values."

2. Pamela Geller is the group's executive director. Again, the SPLC describes her as "the anti-Muslim movement's most visible and flamboyant figurehead."

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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, wader, Doctor RJ, rfall, JML9999 and Man Oh Man. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7, BentLiberal, Oke and jlms qkw.  

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Special thanks to JekyllnHyde for the OND banner.

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

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DW
 

International aid and rescue workers have been continuing to arrive at Kathmandu's airport two days after Nepal was hit by a devastating earthquake. The official death toll has now climbed above 3,700.

A series of aftershocks on Monday continued to keep people from returning to their homes for fear that even the houses left standing could collapse. The Nepal Red Cross said the strongest aftershock following Saturday's 7.8-magnitude earthquake had a magnitude of 6.7.

This left tens of thousands of people sheltering in makeshift tent camps in and around the capital, Kathmandu. The chief administrator for Kathmandu district, Ek Narayan Aryal, said that aid workers were handing out tents and water at 10 locations around the capital Monday.

Aid and rescue workers from several countries, including Germany, India, China and the United States, are already in Kathmandu delivering assistance to the survivors, with many more on their way.

Al Jazeera America
 

Rescue efforts have intensified in Nepal as a stream of foreign aid reaches the capital, Kathmandu in, the wake of a devastating earthquake that has killed more than 3,700 people and injured up to 6,500 others.

Police said on Monday that the death toll might increase as rescuers struggle to reach remote regions in the mountainous country of 28 million people and as bodies buried under rubble are recovered.

Meanwhile, aid efforts are being stepped up. The first nations to respond were Nepal's neighbors India, China and Pakistan — all of which have been jockeying for influence over the landlocked nation.

Nepal remains closest to India, with which it shares deep political, cultural and religious ties. Military cargo planes from India and Pakistan have landed at Kathmandu's small airport, which has been struggling to handle the volume of cargo and civilian planes flying in.

The Guardian
 

After more than 36 hours of darkness, Garima Saha, 12, woke up on Monday morning in a makeshift orthopaedic surgery ward in the reception hall of a hospital in central Kathmandu.

When she opened her eyes, finally regaining consciousness having been buried for nine hours in rubble after Saturday’s earthquake, she found she was safe, but in great pain with multiple fractures to her shoulder. She also learned that her mother and elder brother were dead.

An hour or so later, held by her sobbing grandmother who had rushed from a distant village to be with her, she was gently raised to a semi-upright position in the bed she had been placed in after a long surgery on Saturday night.

Reuters
 

Nepalese officials scrambled on Monday to get aid from the main airport to people left homeless and hungry by a devastating earthquake two days earlier, while thousands tired of waiting fled the capital Kathmandu for the surrounding plains.

By afternoon, the death toll from Saturday's 7.9 magnitude earthquake had climbed to more than 3,700, and reports trickling in from remote areas suggested it would rise significantly.

A senior interior ministry official said it could reach as much as 5,000, in the worse such disaster in Nepal since 1934, when 8,500 people were killed.

Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport was hobbled by many employees not showing up for work, people trying to get out, and a series of aftershocks which forced it to close several times since the quake.

New York Times
 

KATMANDU, Nepal — Even for Lakpa Rita, a revered Nepalese mountaineer who has reached the summit of Mount Everest 17 times, the roaring wall of boulders, rocks, ice and debris that pulverized much of the mountain’s base camp over the weekend signified a malign new twist in the peak’s destructive powers.

“Nothing like this has happened before at Everest base camp,” Mr. Rita said by telephone Monday from the camp in eastern Nepal, three days after the earthquake set off the avalanche and geological convulsions there. At least 18 people died in the area of the camp, which is 18,000 feet above sea level. “This is a huge, huge avalanche,” he said.

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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, wader, Doctor RJ, rfall, JML9999 and Man Oh Man. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7, BentLiberal, Oke and jlms qkw.  

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Special thanks to JekyllnHyde for the OND banner.

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

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Reuters
 

The European Union proposed doubling the size of its Mediterranean search and rescue operations on Monday, as the first bodies were brought ashore of some 900 people feared killed in the deadliest shipwreck while trying to reach Europe.

Three other rescue operations were underway on Monday to save hundreds more migrants in peril on overloaded vessels making the journey from the north coast of Africa to Europe.

The mass deaths have caused shock in Europe, where a decision to scale back naval operations last year seems to have increased the risks for migrants without reducing their numbers.

"The situation in the Mediterranean is dramatic. It cannot continue like this," said European Council President Donald Tusk, calling an extraordinary summit of EU leaders for Thursday to plan how to stop human traffickers and boost rescue efforts.

DW
 

Italian and Maltese ships are responding to two migrant emergencies near the Libyan coast, according to Italian Premier Matteo Renzi.

Renzi said on Monday that ships from Italy and Malta were responding to distress calls from an inflatable life-raft near the Libyan coast with 100 to 150 people aboard and to another boat with 300 people on board.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) received a call at its Rome office on Monday from an unidentified person claiming to be on a sinking boat with 300 people on board, including 20 who had already died. The same caller said there was a total of three boats in distress.

NPR
 

The European Union is holding an emergency meeting Monday about the deadly capsizing of a boat crowded with would-be migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. With 28 survivors reported and 24 bodies recovered, only a fraction of the hundreds of people who were reportedly on board are accounted for.

The boat was about 120 miles south of the Italian island of Lampedusa when it capsized this weekend; it was roughly 60 miles from Libya. Estimates of the number of people who were on the 65-foot craft range from 700 to 950. The boat reportedly capsized after many of its passengers rushed to the same side.

The Guardian
 

On a day that 27 survivors of the weekend’s Mediterranean boat disaster were flown to Sicily and salvage crews scoured the waters off Libya for the bodies of up to 900 more victims, reports came in of many more desperate migrants heading for Europe in unseaworthy craft, oblivious to the overwhelming odds against them.

Matteo Renzi, Italy’s prime minister, said rescues were under way to help save migrants trapped on two vessels carrying about 450 people off the Libyan coast. Earlier, the International Organisation for Migration said “at least” 20 fatalities had been reported from one of the vessels, carrying about 300 people, although that could not be immediately confirmed.

New York Times
 

ROME — European leaders were confronted on Monday with a full-blown humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean, as estimates that as many as 900 migrants may have died off the Libyan coast this weekend prompted calls for a new approach to the surging number of refugees crossing from Africa and the Middle East.

Even as efforts continued to collect the bodies from the sinking off Libya late Saturday and early Sunday — only 28 survivors have been found — Italian rescue ships responded to new distress calls from other vessels. A second migrant ship crashed near the Greek island of Rhodes, underscoring the relentless flow of people fleeing poverty, persecution and war.

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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, wader, Doctor RJ, rfall, JML9999 and Man Oh Man. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7, BentLiberal, Oke and jlms qkw.  

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Special thanks to JekyllnHyde for the OND banner.

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

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Al Jazeera America
 

Hillary Clinton announced her 2016 presidential bid on Sunday, kick-starting a long-awaited second run for the White House and becoming the clear front runner for the Democratic nod.

The formal word came from campaign chairman John Podesta in an e-mail to donors and supporters. “It's official,” the e-mail reads. “Hillary's running for president.”

The campaign followed up the e-mail with a tweet from Clinton and released an online video, featuring the stories of ordinary Americans, on the newly-launched HillaryClinton.com.

“Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top,” Clinton said in the video. “I’m hitting the road to earn your vote because it’s your time, and I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”

Al Jazeera America

WASHINGTON — Marco Rubio on Monday became the latest presidential aspirant to officially enter the ranks of the 2016 White House contenders. The first-term Republican senator from Florida announced his candidacy during a conference call to donors, saying he is uniquely qualified to represent the future of the GOP. Rubio is also expected to hold a rally in Miami later this evening, where he will kick off his campaign in Freedom Tower, a kind of Ellis Island for Cuban émigrés in Florida.  

Whereas other Republicans in the race — Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas — have staked out distinct political identities, how Rubio positions in the race for the GOP nomination remains a mystery.

The Guardian
 

Even as Americans wait for Clinton to actually say what she might propose to help the middle class, or to diminish inequality, or to do about police brutality, or to rein in the NSA, or to confront Russia in Europe and negotiate with Cuba and Iran, or … anything really – despite all these unknowns, New Yorkers seem to like her.

That’s not nothing. New Yorkers don’t really like anybody.

...

Marco Rubio has struggled to make a mark on domestic legislation and has instead tried to assert himself on the foreign relations committee.

Despite his generally affable relations with Senate veterans, Rubio’s voting record tilts conspicuously toward the Tea party at times.

In 2013, he voted not to renew the Violence Against Women Act – the law that made stalking illegal and set up support systems for women. (The law passed anyway.)

Reuters

 

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida told top donors on Monday that he will run for the White House because he is "uniquely qualified" to represent the Republican Party in the 2016 presidential race, a source familiar with the matter said.

During a conference call with donors, Rubio criticized Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton as a leader from yesterday and said the 2016 race will be a choice between the past and the future, the source said.

Rubio, a son of Cuban immigrants who rode the anti-establishment Tea Party wave of 2010 to national prominence, will formally announce his presidential bid later on Monday with a speech at Miami's Freedom Tower.

Reuters
 

Hillary Clinton cast herself as a champion for everyday Americans on Sunday, kicking off her long-awaited second run for the White House with a vow to fight for a level playing field for those recovering from tough economic times.

Clinton, who begins the 2016 presidential race as the commanding Democratic front-runner, entered the fray with a flurry of video, email and social media announcements that indicated she had absorbed some of the lessons of her painful 2008 loss and would not take anything for granted this time.

When she lost the Democratic nominating battle to Barack Obama, her campaign was heavily criticized for conveying a sense of arrogance and entitlement, and for being out of touch with the party's progressive wing.

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Sun Apr 12, 2015 at 05:00 PM PDT

IGTNT: 'It's a punch to the gut'

by maggiejean


Unable are the loved to die.  For love is immortality.  ~Emily Dickinson

I Got the News Today (IGTNT) is a diary series intended to honor service members who have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The title is a reminder that almost every day a military family gets the terrible news about a loved one.

I Got The News Today (IGTNT), which began in April of 2004, is one of the oldest continuous series on Daily Kos and provides members of this community a venue to pay their respects to those who have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

The beautiful forget-me-nots were created by llbear.

Since 2003 there have been 4489 US casualties in Iraq and since 2001 there have been 2357 US casualties in Afghanistan. Source.

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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, wader, Doctor RJ, rfall, JML9999 and Man Oh Man. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7, BentLiberal, Oke and jlms qkw.  

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Special thanks to JekyllnHyde for the OND banner.

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

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The Guardian
 

Barack Obama has answered continuing Israeli criticism of the framework agreement over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, telling the New York Times the deal is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see whether or not we can at least take the nuclear issue off the table”.

The US president added: “There is no formula, there is no option, to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon that will be more effective than the diplomatic initiative and framework that we put forward – and that’s demonstrable.”

Two days after the announcement of the deal between Iran and the major world powers – achieved in Switzerland after 18 months of talks and which must be finalised by the end of June – Obama spoke to the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman at the White House for an interview that was published online on Sunday.

Al Jazeera America
 

President Barack Obama defended a framework nuclear agreement with Iran as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to prevent development of a bomb and bring longer-term stability to the Middle East. He insisted the U.S. would stand by Israel if it were to come under attack, but acknowledged that his pursuit of diplomacy with Tehran has caused strain with the close ally.

“It's been a hard period,” Obama said in an interview with Thomas Friedman, a columnist for The New York Times published Sunday night. He added that it is “personally difficult” for him to hear his administration accused of not looking out for Israel's interests.

Now in his seventh year in office, Obama cast the Iran talks as part of a broader foreign policy doctrine that sees American power as a safeguard that gives him the ability to take calculated risks.

“We are powerful enough to be able to test these propositions without putting ourselves at risk,” he said, citing his overtures to Cuba and Myanmar as other examples of his approach.

Spiegel Online
 

People in the West tend to have a monolithic view of Iran. But there's a lot more to the country than the mullah-led theocracy, and it often gets ignored. And national pride is alive and well.

Which government cabinet is home to more ministers with doctorates from American universities than Barack Obama's administration? The correct answer is that of of the Islamic Republic of Iran. And, no, that list does not include President Hassan Rouhani. He got his doctorate at the University of Glasgow law school.

There are few countries in the world that are subjected to as much Western prejudice and misunderstanding as Iran. I have known the country since the era of the shahs and I have visited it more than a dozen times in the past four decades, including a recent visit.

BBC
 

President Barack Obama has moved to reassure Israel that the US remains its staunchest supporter, amid Israeli fears over last week's outline agreement on Iran's nuclear programme.

He said Iran and the rest of the region should know that "if anybody messes with Israel, America will be there".

Critics have accused the president of conceding too much ground to Iran and endangering Israel's security.

But in an interview with the New York Times, Mr Obama firmly denied this.

"I would consider it a failure on my part, a fundamental failure of my presidency, if on my watch, or as a consequence of work that I had done, Israel was rendered more vulnerable," he said.

NPR
 

President Obama says it would be a "fundamental misjudgment" to condition a nuclear deal with Iran on the country's recognition of Israel.

Obama made the comments Monday during an interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep.

Steve spoke at length with Obama about a framework deal struck by Iran and world powers that would curb parts of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the loosening of some international sanctions.

Israel has vehemently opposed such a deal and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been publicly critical of the parameters set by the agreement, saying they would "threaten the survival of Israel."

New York Times
 

JERUSALEM — Clearly unsatisfied with assurances from Washington, Israel on Monday listed specific requirements that it said it wanted in any final deal with Iran over that country’s nuclear program.

Israel’s public diplomacy has so far focused on what many have said was an unrealistic demand for the complete dismantlement of Iran’s potentially military nuclear infrastructure. Softening that position, Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s minister of intelligence and strategic affairs, presented a list of desired modifications for the final agreement, due to be concluded by June 30, that he said would make it “more reasonable.”

Those changes, the Israeli government says, are necessary to close dangerous loopholes in the preliminary framework agreed between Iran and world powers including the United States in Lausanne, Switzerland, last week.

Los Angeles Times
 

A top Saudi envoy appeared to give the White House support Monday for the nuclear framework deal with Iran, apparently bringing a powerful regional ally into the fold as the White House seeks to shore up regional support.

Adel Jubeir, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, said Monday that he is optimistic the deal will be concluded to place strict limits on Iran’s ability to enrich uranium and conduct other nuclear activities for at least a decade.

“We hope there will be a deal based on the principles that the U.S. government has articulated to us,” he told reporters.

Salon
 

Throughout his career, but especially in the time since President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has revealed himself to be something most politicians are not: a terrible bullshitter.

I don’t mean “terrible” in a normative sense, though he often deploys bullshit for ends that I find morally abhorrent. I mean “terrible” in the sense of lacking skill. Even if you adjust your measurements to reflect his profession (where bullshit is nearly omnipresent), Netanyahu’s phoniness is obvious. It’s a strange thing to say about the second-longest serving PM in Israel’s history, I grant, but it’s true nonetheless. It’s absurdly easy to tell when “Bibi” is full of it.

Let’s take the multiple appearances he made this weekend on American television, for example. During his time on both NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union” and ABC’s “This Week,” Netanyahu repeated the argument he made during his farcical speech before (most of) the Congress earlier this year. Evidently, the fact that the outline of an agreement negotiators unveiled last week is broadly seen as better than expected has not caused him to reevaluate his position.

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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, wader, Doctor RJ, rfall, JML9999 and Man Oh Man. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7, BentLiberal, Oke and jlms qkw.  

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Special thanks to JekyllnHyde for the OND banner.

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

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Al Jazeera America
 

Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen will continue until Shia rebels there "withdraw and surrender their weapons," a summit of Arab leaders decided Sunday, as they also agreed in principle to forming a joint military force.

The decision by the Arab League puts it on a path to more aggressively challenge Iran, which they accuse of backing the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis.

A Saudi-led coalition began bombing Yemen on Thursday, saying it was targeting the Houthis and their allies, which include forces loyal to Yemen's former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh. Current and former Yemeni military officials have said the campaign could pave the way for a possible ground invasion.

At the summit, held in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby read a final communiqué outlining the leaders' views.

The Guardian
 

Arab states have said they will try to assemble a unified military force to combat common threats across the Middle East, which regional leaders say is now more volatile and polarised than at any point in at least 35 years.

The mooted force would be 40,000 strong, based in Cairo or Riyadh and would be deployed to counter threats anywhere from Libya to Yemen.

The concept, which is effectively a joint defence pact, was tabled by the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, at an Arab League summit in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh, where all 22 members of the fractious body gathered on Sunday to discuss the myriad crises reverberating around the region.

“The Arab leaders have decided to agree on the principle of a joint Arab military force,” Sisi said.

Reuters
 

Yemeni fighters loyal to the Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi clashed with Iranian-allied Houthi fighters on Sunday in Aden, the absent leader's last major foothold in the country.

Hadi loyalists in the southern port city reported a gunbattle in the central Crater district in which three people were killed, and said they recaptured the airport, which has changed hands several times in recent days.

The Health Ministry, loyal to the Houthi fighters who control the capital, said Saudi-led air strikes had killed 35 people and wounded 88 overnight. The figures could not be independently confirmed.

BBC
 

The heads of Arab League countries meeting in Egypt have agreed to create a joint Arab military force.

The League has been meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh amid a crisis in Yemen and the threat of jihadists who have made major gains in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

However, establishing the make-up and remit of the force could take months, analysts say.

A 10-nation, Saudi-led coalition is currently carrying out air strikes against rebels in Yemen.

The strikes are in support of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who fled after gains by the Shia Houthi rebels.

Correspondents have described the conflict as a proxy war between Sunni Arab nations and Shia Iran.

New York Times
 

CAIRO — The Arab states said on Sunday that they had agreed to form a combined military force to counter both Iranian influence and Islamist extremism, a gesture many analysts attributed in large part to their drive for more independence from Washington.

The agreement came as American and other Western diplomats in Lausanne, Switzerland, were racing to beat a self-imposed deadline of Tuesday to reach a deal with Iran that would restrict its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of economic sanctions. In response, Saudi Arabia and other American allies in the region have made clear that they are seeking to bolster independent regional security measures because they see the proposed accord as a betrayal of Washington’s commitment to their security.

Regardless of Iran’s nuclear program, they complain, the deal would do nothing to stop Iran from seeking to extend its influence around the region by backing favored factions, as it has done in Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen.

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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, wader, Doctor RJ, rfall, JML9999 and Man Oh Man. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7, BentLiberal, Oke and jlms qkw.  

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Special thanks to JekyllnHyde for the OND banner.

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

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Al Jazeera America
 

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, became the first big name to officially enter the 2016 presidential race Monday morning, announcing his candidacy at Liberty University, a Christian college in Lynchburg, Virginia.

In the megachurch-like setting of Liberty University’s convocation stage, Cruz paced like a televangelist in the mold of the school’s founder, Jerry Falwell. Cruz appealed to the thousands of students gathered for the mandatory weekly convocation, trying to mobilize the young social conservatives his campaign hopes will propel him to victory.  

“I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America,” he said. “That is why today I am announcing that I am running for the president of the United States.”  

In 2012, tea party support catapulted Cruz to an upset victory over an establishment candidate, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Cruz’s only prior experience in public office had been as a solicitor general, appointed by the governor.

The Guardian
 

Texas senator Ted Cruz announced he is running for president on Monday with an uncompromising speech to Liberty University in Virginia, making the firebrand Republican the first official entrant in the 2016 race.

“I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America,” Cruz said, “and that is why today I am announcing I am running for president of the United States.”

“We stand together for liberty,” he told an arena of students at the intensely Christian university, which advertises itself as a training ground for “champions of Christ” in rural Virginia.

NPR
 

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has apparently had enough of the fig leaf most presidential candidates wear as their unofficial spring costume the year before the election actually happens.

That is a bold stroke, but entirely in keeping with the go-for-broke style the junior senator from Texas has exhibited since first challenging the Republican establishment's candidate for the Senate in 2012.

Cruz, who officially announced his candidacy for president in a midnight Monday tweet and video, has not been the buzz candidate so far in the party's 2016 discussions — nor the media's. In fact, he has seemed at times a bit of a faded rose, a skyrocket that spent much of its sparkle. There was the debacle over his brinkmanship in the 2013 government shutdown. That was followed by countless run-ins with Republican colleagues in the Senate.

BBC News: US and Canada
 

Republican Ted Cruz has made individual liberty the key theme of his presidential campaign announcement.

Speaking at Liberty University in Virginia, Mr Cruz is one of several Republican hopefuls to emerge from the Tea Party movement.

He described his mission as "reigniting the promise of America" because "for so many Americans the promise of America seems more and more distant".
He is the first high-profile figure to officially enter the 2016 race.

AlterNet
 

Immediately after Texas Senator Ted Cruz announced via Twitter Sunday night that he is seeking the presidency, Twitter exploded in mockery. The collected wisdom of Twitter wits came together to help Cruz with some winning slogans, bound to draw out the pinwheel hat wearing, gun-toting, nonsense-spewing constituents who gravitate to Cruz.

Here are 25 of the best suggestions under #TedCruzCampaignSlogans. Sure hope Cruz is paying attention.

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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, wader, Doctor RJ, rfall, JML9999 and Man Oh Man. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7, BentLiberal, Oke and jlms qkw.  

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Special thanks to JekyllnHyde for the OND banner.

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

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DW
 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has appeared in public for the first time since early March, in a meeting with the Kyrgyz leader. He has laughed off speculation surrounding his 10-day absence.

Putin met with President Almazbek Atambayev of Kyrgyzstan in the Constantine Palace in Saint Petersburg on Monday.

He laughed off suggestions he had been unwell or even quietly deposed as being behind his 10-day absence, joking that without rumors life would be uninteresting.
"It would be boring without gossip," he said.
The Russian President was last seen in public on March 5, at a news conference held with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Speculation over the reasons behind the 62-year-old's unusual absence from the public spotlight have ranged from questions over his health, to whether he had become a father again, and even that he had been quietly deposed.

NPR
 

Making his first verified public appearance in more than a week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the conspiracy rumors that were whipped up in his absence were silly. Putin appeared Monday with Kyrgyzstan's president in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Putin appeared in public March 5 and then dropped out of sight. His short-term disappearance from the public eye prompted a wide range of theories about his health or even a possible coup. It also inspired a flurry of Photoshopped images of Putin, as the Two-Way reported Friday.

On Monday, Putin told reporters with a smile that "life would be too dull without rumors."

The Guardian
 

“It would be boring without gossip.”

That pithy aside, delivered with a wry smile, may well be the only explanation the world will ever get from the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, about his whereabouts for the past 11 days – an absence that launched a thousand rumours of ill-health, childbirth and even a palace coup.

Putin, looking jovial if somewhat pale, met with the Kyrgyz leader, Almazbek Atanbayev, in a St Petersburg palace on Monday, the first time he has been seen in public since 5 March. It puts an end to the more outlandish rumours over his absence, but there are still suggestions of a crack in Putin’s well-organised “power vertical” after the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov last month.

BBC
 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has laughed off speculation about his health after making his first appearance in public since 5 March.

Life "would be boring without gossip", he told Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev at talks in St Petersburg.

The 62-year-old appeared relaxed and smiled before the television cameras.

His disappearance from public view had sparked rumours that he might have fallen ill, died, been removed in a coup, or once again become a father.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Putin ordered the Russian navy's Northern Fleet on to a state of full combat readiness in the Arctic.

It came as more than 45,000 troops, as well as warplanes and submarines, started major military exercises across northern Russia.

Reuters
 

Russian President Vladimir Putin reappeared on Monday after 10 unexplained days out of public view, laughing off the "gossip" over his health that had erupted during his absence.

The 62-year-old leader met the president of Kyrgyzstan at a lavish Tsarist-era palace outside St Petersburg in his first appearance since Feb. 5. His absence had fueled rumors he was ill, had been overthrown by the army or had even flown abroad to attend the birth of a love child.

"It would be boring without gossip," Putin said, smiling easily before television cameras. He looked relaxed, if pale.

His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, mocked the press for its interest, referring sarcastically to the various rumors: "So you've seen the broken, paralyzed president, who has been captured by generals? He's only just flown in from Switzerland, where he attended a birth as you know."

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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, wader, Doctor RJ, rfall, JML9999 and Man Oh Man. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7, BentLiberal, Oke and jlms qkw.  

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Special thanks to JekyllnHyde for the OND banner.

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

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BBC
 

The protesters, who were mostly high school and college students, vented anger over the shooting of an unarmed biracial teenager by a white policeman.

Nineteen-year-old Tony Robinson Jr was shot on Friday evening in an apartment. He was unarmed, but police say he attacked the officer who shot him.

A series of police shootings have stoked racial tensions in the US.

Students from all of the city's high schools walked out of classes to attend the peaceful rally inside the capitol building's rotunda, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Inside the building, they carried a "Black Lives Matter" banner and chanted "Justice for Tony!"

This latest demonstration marks the fourth day of protest since the shooting on Friday evening.

The Guardian
 

A judge in Ferguson, Missouri, who is accused of running a modern-day debtors’ prison while fixing traffic tickets for himself and owing $170,000 in unpaid taxes, resigned on Monday as state authorities seized control of the city’s court system.

Ronald J Brockmeyer stepped down as Ferguson’s municipal court judge after Missouri’s supreme court ordered that all the court’s cases be transferred to the St Louis County circuit court, according to a source who was not authorised to speak publicly about the decision.

Under the same ruling, Judge Roy L Richter of the Missouri court of appeals will be assigned to the county’s circuit court, where he will hear all of Ferguson’s municipal court cases “to help restore public trust and confidence” in the system.

The Guardian
 

Members of one of the largest fraternity groups in the US were condemned on Monday by the the University of Oklahoma president, David Boren, after students were caught hurling racist epithets towards black Americans in a video published online.

Boren, a former US senator who also served as the state’s governor, called the students’ behaviour sickening, and said Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) would not be welcome on the University of Oklahoma campus again.

“This is not who we are,” said Boren in a Monday press conference. “Those students will be out of that house by midnight tomorrow night, the house will be closed, and as far as I’m concerned it won’t be back – at least not as long as I’m president of the university.”

The Guardian
 

Muslim leaders in Texas have expressed their fears over rising anxiety in the community following the murder of an Iraqi migrant who was shot dead in Dallas as he stood outside his apartment to photograph his first snowfall.

Ahmed al-Jumaili had waited a year for paperwork to be completed so he could join his wife, Zahraa, in the US, where they hoped they could start a new life together in a safer country. She greeted him at the airport with balloons, flowers and a sign that said she had “waited 460 days … for this moment”.

Less than three weeks later, Jumaili was dead: killed in an apparently random shooting by unknown assailants who are still at large. Police said that Jumaili, his wife and her brother were outside their apartment complex in a north Dallas suburb late last Wednesday, taking photographs of snow in the parking lot. Four suspects entered the complex on foot, multiple shots were fired, and the 36-year-old was killed after being hit in the chest.

Los Angeles Times
 

37-year-old man who was shot and killed by Colorado police last week was not armed, officials said during a news conference Monday.

Naeschylus Vinzant died of a gunshot wound to the chest after a clash with police in Aurora, according to a statement by the Arapahoe County coroner's office.

Vinzant, who had absconded from parole March 2 and removed his ankle monitor, was also wanted in connection with an "assault, robbery, kidnapping and domestic violence incident" that took place the same day, according to Aurora Police Cmdr. Paul O'Keefe.

The city's SWAT team was called in because of Vinzant's "violent history," he said. It was not clear what led to the shooting.

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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, wader, Doctor RJ, rfall, JML9999 and Man Oh Man. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7, BentLiberal, Oke and jlms qkw.  

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Special thanks to JekyllnHyde for the OND banner.

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

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Al Jazeera America
 

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted Monday that his plans to address Congress are not aimed at disrespecting President Barack Obama, even as he assailed the U.S. leader's bid for a nuclear deal with Iran as a threat to his country's survival.

"I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there is still time to avert them," Netanyahu said during an address to a pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington.

As Netanyahu spoke, Secretary of State John Kerry was opening a new round of talks with Iran in Geneva aimed at reaching a framework nuclear deal ahead of a late March deadline.

Netanyahu's visit to Washington has exposed deep tensions with the White House. The centerpiece of his trip is an address Tuesday to Congress that was arranged by Republicans without the knowledge of the Obama administration.

The Guardian
 

An undaunted Binyamin Netanyahu has defended his decision to defy the White House and accept an invitation from Republican leader John Boehner to address Congress on Tuesday on the risks of a nuclear deal with Iran.

Though he acknowledged his speech may been been interpreted as a partisan intervention in US politics, the Israeli prime minister insisted it was a necessary step, given his fears that the international talks would fail to adequately contain Tehran’s nuclear potential.

“The days when the Jewish people are passive in the face of threats to annihilate us, those days are over,” he told an audience of around 16,000 people at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) annual policy conference in Washington.

BBC
 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his coming speech to the US Congress is "not intended to disrespect" President Barack Obama.

In a speech to the top US-Israel lobby, Mr Netanyahu said the last thing he would want is to make Israel a US partisan issue.

Mr Netanyahu has been invited to speak at the US Capitol on Tuesday by House Speaker John Boehner about Iran.

It is seen as a rebuke to Mr Obama's threat to veto new sanctions on Iran.

The White House has said Mr Obama will not meet Mr Netanyahu during this trip as he is visiting too close to Israel's election date.

The Israeli leader is at odds with the Obama administration's pursuit of negotiations with Iran over their nuclear programme.

Reuters
 

President Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu clashed over Iran nuclear diplomacy on Monday on the eve of the Israeli prime minister’s hotly disputed address to Congress, underscoring the severity of U.S.-Israeli strains over the issue.

Even as the two leaders professed their commitment to a strong partnership and sought to play down the diplomatic row, they delivered dueling messages – Netanyahu in a speech to pro-Israeli supporters and Obama in an interview with Reuters – that hammered home their differences on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Neither gave any ground ahead of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress on Tuesday when he plans to detail his objections to ongoing talks between Iran and world powers that he says will inevitably allow Tehran to become a nuclear-armed state.

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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, wader, Doctor RJ, rfall, JML9999 and Man Oh Man. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7, BentLiberal, Oke and jlms qkw.  

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Special thanks to JekyllnHyde for the OND banner.

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

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The Guardian
 

Binyamin Netanyahu’s dramatic declaration to world leaders in 2012 that Iran was about a year away from making a nuclear bomb was contradicted by his own secret service, according to a top-secret Mossad document.

It is part of a cache of hundreds of dossiers, files and cables from the world’s major intelligence services – one of the biggest spy leaks in recent times.

Brandishing a cartoon of a bomb with a red line to illustrate his point, the Israeli prime minister warned the UN in New York that Iran would be able to build nuclear weapons the following year and called for action to halt the process.

But in a secret report shared with South Africa a few weeks later, Israel’s intelligence agency concluded that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons”. The report highlights the gulf between the public claims and rhetoric of top Israeli politicians and the assessments of Israel’s military and intelligence establishment.

Al Jazeera America
 

Less than a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's 2012 warning to the UN General Assembly that Iran was 70 per cent of the way to completing its "plans to build a nuclear weapon", Israel's intelligence service believed that Iran was "not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons".

A secret cable obtained by Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit reveals that Mossad sent a top-secret cable to South Africa on October 22, 2012 that laid out a "bottom line" assessment of Iran's nuclear work.

It appears to contradict the picture painted by Netanyahu of Tehran racing towards acquisition of a nuclear bomb.
Writing that Iran had not begun the work needed to build any kind of nuclear weapon, the Mossad cable said the Islamic Republic's scientists are "working to close gaps in areas that appear legitimate such as enrichment reactors".

Huffington Post
 

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's Mossad spy agency in October 2012 had a less alarmist view of Iran's nuclear program than an assessment delivered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations just a few weeks earlier, according to a purported secret cable published Monday by two media outlets.

In a landmark speech to the United Nations in September of that year, Netanyahu had brandished a cartoon drawing of a bomb and said Iran was moving ahead with plans that would allow it to potentially build a nuclear bomb within a year or so.

But in the document published Monday by The Guardian and Al-Jazeera, the Mossad is quoted as saying "Iran at this stage is not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons."

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